Countries such as Australia, New Zealand, US and UK have expressed deep concern over China’s new security law undermining the democratic freedom of the people of Hong Kong. However the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), an organisation promoting and developing external trade for Hong Kong with South Asia remains optimistic.
Mumbai based Rajesh Bhagat, Consultant at South Asia Hong Kong Trade Development Council plans to encourage trade between India and Hong Kong, even as tensions simmer between China and India at the borders. He talks in an email interview with Harsimran Julka about the HKTDC’s plans to encourage trade amidst pandemic and border tensions. Excerpts:
Q. Will the new security law cause any concerns with regards to Hong Kong’s trade with India or other parts of the world?
As of now, Hong Kong’s trade with India does not seem to be affected.
Q. Which are the biggest exports of Hong Kong?
HK Exports to the World include:
Domestic Exports: The main items include jewellery, goldsmiths’ and silversmiths’ wares, and other articles of precious or semi-precious materials (20.7% of Hong Kong’s total domestic exports in 2019); plastics in primary and non-primary forms (8.4%); and medicinal and pharmaceutical products (8.1%).
Re-exports: The principal items include electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances, and electrical parts thereof (39.8% of Hong Kong’s total re-exports in 2019); telecommunications and sound recording and reproducing apparatus and equipment (18.7%); office machines and automatic data processing machines (10.1%); nonmetallic mineral manufactures (3.9%) and photographic apparatus, equipment and supplies and optical goods, and watches and clocks (2.7%).
Export of Services: Hong Kong is consistently a net exporter of services. In 2019, Hong Kong exported HK$792.9 billion worth of services, bearing a ratio of 27.7% to Hong Kong’s GDP.
Q. How is HKTDC adapting to the pandemic situation?
The Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) acted swiftly to change its strategy at the onset of the pandemic, actively developing new business channels and services.
In view of the pandemic, nine of the HKTDC’s planned physical exhibitions were migrated to an online exhibition ‘Summer Sourcing Weeks | Go ONLINE’.
The online exhibition featured more than 1,300 exhibitors and attracted over 13,000 registered quality buyers from 118 countries and regions.
During the fair, HKTDC held multiple webinars to enable global suppliers and buyers to stay abreast of the latest market intelligence amid the pandemic, attracting more than 31,000 views.
The successful conclusion of this model laid the foundation for a future hybrid model combining physical and online trade fairs.
The exhibition employed innovative online solutions which combined key elements of business matching from physical fairs to facilitate business discussions between buyers and exhibitors.
HKTDC used Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data to create ‘Click2Match’ – the business matching platform which automatically matches exhibitors with prospective buyers, enabling both parties to forge closer business connections.
‘Click2Match’ covered meeting scheduling, video meeting, live chat and online seminars run by industry experts.
Over 4,500 video meetings were arranged during the online exhibition for buyers and exhibitors to forge collaborations amid the global pandemic.
As the pandemic persists, the HKTDC will organise its next online exhibition, Autumn Sourcing Week | ONLINE, in November.
Q. What are the biggest exports of Hong Kong to India? Does HKTDC see any shift / upsurge in trade with India in any key areas due to the new situation in 2020?
The major HK Export Commodities to India include telecommunications, sound recording, reproducing apparatus & equipment,
electrical machinery, apparatus and appliances & electrical parts, office and automatic data processing machines.
In terms of Hong Kong – India trade, it has been observed that – India’s imports from Hong Kong were $17 billion last fiscal, with electronics, telecom equipment and computer hardware being almost $8 billion of the total. This is a sharp rise from $10.67 billion imports in 2017-18.
India’s import basket has also undergone a change as pearls, precious and semi-precious stones, which occupied the top spot in FY18, have now ceded that position to electronics components.